My paintings, drawings and constructions are fueled by life experience and Nature. I work intuitively combining, editing and re-combing marks into compositions that are unexpectedly recognizable. I don’t set out to tell a story but my many years as an illustrator inevitably weave their way into my work.
My process combines conventional art materials with home construction materials and tools. I paint with fluid acrylics on wood panels. The hard surface allows me to aggressively scrape and sand into the paint. I’m currently making extensive use of an early childhood school technique of drawing with crayons and ink on paper. The crayons I use now are from Switzerland and the ink is sumi from Japan but the paper is bristol made by Strathmore in Massachusetts. I’ve also been making constructions from large cardboard tubes and flat shapes cut out of thin plywood. The tubes were originally made for forming concrete footings and piers. I paint simple patterns on them and use them to hold the plywood cut outs. My paintings and drawings are composed of lots of areas of flat contrasting colored shapes and patterns. The shapes and colors of the cut outs come from deconstructing my paintings and drawings.
My work is often described as having musical qualities. My studio is located in Baltimore. There's a strong arts culture here that includes MICA (my alma mater) and The Peabody Institute, a prominent music school. I’ve talked with music composers who find similarity in how we create. I’m also compared to quilters because of the large college-like areas of color and pattern in my work. There's lots of detail and texture in my work that can never be appreciated seen on a computer or phone screen. The two times I'm happiest these days are when I'm finishing a piece and when I get to see someone experiencing my work in person.
I was an illustrator for many years before concentrating on fine art. I know well how to tell stories with pictures. I’m always available for commissions.
After graduating from MICA in 1975, Mike McConnell worked for over 30 years as an illustrator. His illustrations have been included in multiple design magazines including Print’s Regional Design Awards, The Society of Illustrators Annual, and HOW Magazine’s Annual. In the Fall of 2012, he made a commitment to focus exclusively on fine art.
He is currently a resident studio artist at the Motor House in the Station North Arts District of Baltimore, MD.
McConnell is a 2016 Maryland State Arts Council Artist Award winner and the 1st Place: President’s Best of Show winner of the 2016 3rd Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Exhibit. He is also a 2017 Finalist for the 13th Annual Bethesda Painting Awards.
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Bachelor of Fine Arts
Upcoming, Étude in See, Montpelier Arts Center, Laurel, MD, April 7 - May 27, 2018
Upcoming, Cutting Into Art, (Catalog), UMUC Arts Program Gallery, University of Maryland University College, College Park, MD, December 10, 2017 - February 18, 2018
Elsewhere, BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown, MD, April 29 - June 10, 2017
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, March 10 - May 5 2017
California, Greenbelt Community Center Art Gallery
Crayons, Creative Alliance Amalie Rothschild Gallery, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore County Arts Guild, Baltimore, MD
Flip Side, Athenaeum Gallery, Alexandria, VA
Pentimento, School 33 Arts Center Members Gallery, Baltimore, MD
University of Baltimore Student Center Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD
Bethesda Painting Awards Finalist Exhibition, Juried by Don Kimes, Trace Miller and Dr. Cole Welter, Bethesda, MD, June 7 - July 1, 2017
Art Maryland 2016, Juried by Christopher Bedford, Howard County Arts Council, Ellicott City, MD
MAP's 35th Annual Exhibition
Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD
3rd Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibit, College Park, MD
Second Annual Athenaeum Invitational, Athenaeum Gallery, Juried by Twig Murray, Alexandria, VA
Maryland Artist Registry Juried Exhibition, Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD
Art in Motion: The 25th Annual Strathmore Juried Exhibition, Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, MD
The Athenaeum Invitational, Athenaeum Gallery, Juried by Twig Murray, Alexandria, VA
Hamilton Street Club, Two Person Show, Baltimore, MD
Spatial Conversations, Creative Alliance Amalie Rothschild Gallery, Two Person Show, Baltimore, MD
B¡NGO, Platform Gallery First Annual Juried Exhibition, Juried by Deana Haggag, Stewart Watson, and Cara Ober, Baltimore, MD
57th Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Juried by Jerry Saltz, Chautauqua, NY
Transformations: From One Thing to Another, McLean Project for the Arts, Juried by Jack Rasmussen, McLean, VA
2nd Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibit, College Park, MD
13th Annual Bethesda Painting Awards Finalist
1st Place: President's Best of show Award
3rd Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibit
Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award
Best in Show, Lotta Art, School 33 Art Center
Juror's Honorable Mention, 57th Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Juried by Jerry Saltz
PUBLICATIONS AND PRESS